Posted By: Jordon [Send E-Mail]
Date: Thursday, 17-Jan-2013 16:12:38
A new Gold Standard is being born
The world is moving step by step towards a de facto Gold Standard, without any meetings of G20 leaders to announce the idea or bless the project.
Some readers will already have seen the GFMS Gold Survey for 2012 which reported that central banks around the world bought more bullion last year in terms of tonnage than at any time in almost half a century.
They added a net 536 tonnes in 2012 as they diversified fresh reserves away from the four fiat suspects: dollar, euro, sterling, and yen.
The Washington Accord, where Britain, Spain, Holland, South Africa, Switzerland, and others sold a chunk of their gold each year, already seems another era – the Gordon Brown era, you might call it.
That was the illusionary period when investors thought the euro would take its place as the twin pillar of a new G2 condominium alongside the dollar. That hope has faded. Central bank holdings of euro bonds have fallen back to 26pc, where they were almost a decade ago.
Neither the euro nor the dollar can inspire full confidence, although for different reasons. EMU is a dysfunctional construct, covering two incompatible economies, prone to lurching from crisis to crisis, without a unified treasury to back it up. The dollar stands on a pyramid of debt. We all know that this debt will be inflated away over time – for better or worse. The only real disagreement is over the speed.
The central bank buyers are of course the rising powers of Asia and the commodity bloc, now holders of two thirds of the world’s $11 trillion foreign reserves, and all its incremental reserves.
It is no secret that China is buying the dips, seeking to raise the gold share of its reserves well above 2pc. Russia has openly targeted a 10pc share. Variants of this are occurring from the Pacific region to the Gulf and Latin America. And now the Bundesbank has chosen to pull part of its gold from New York and Paris.
Personally, I doubt that Buba had any secret agenda, or knows something hidden from the rest of us. It responded to massive popular pressure and prodding from lawmakers in the Bundestag to bring home Germany’s gold. Yet that is not the end of the story. The fact that this popular pressure exists – and is well-organised – reflects a breakdown in trust between the major democracies and economic powers. It is a new political fact in the global system.
Pimco’s Mohammed El Erian said this may have a knock-on effect:
“In the first instance, it could translate into pressures on other countries to also repatriate part of their gold holdings. After all, if you can safely store your gold at home — a big if for some countries — no government would wish to be seen as one of the last to outsource all of this activity to foreign central banks.
If developments are limited to this problem, there would be no material impact on the functioning and well-being of the global economy. If, however, perceptions of growing mutual mistrusts translate into larger multilateral tensions, then the world would find itself facing even greater difficulties resolving payments imbalances and resisting beggar-thy-neighbour national policies.
Read more: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/ambroseevans-pritchard/100022332/a-new-gold-standard-is-being-born/